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Public Opinion Or Ritual Celebration Of Concord? Politics, Religion And Society In The Competition Between The Chambers Of Rhetoric At Vlaardingen, 1616

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Chapter Summary

In the summer of 1616 fifteen chambers of rhetoric, that include lay societies which composed and performed erudite vernacular plays on formal occasions, met for a festival in Vlaardingen. This chapter analyses the published texts on three related questions. The first concerns the representation of the political and religious problems that confronted the Dutch Republic in 1616. These cluster around the relative merits of war and peace, the rivalry between stadholder Maurice and the landsadvocaat Oldenbarnevelt, and the associated religious controversies. Secondly, the chapter considers the perception of an ideal society that emerges from these plays and poems. The ideal society is hierarchically structured and derives its legitimacy from God. Finally, the chapter questions the assertion made in recent studies that plays like these contributed to a public debate, or even to the formation of a climate of public opinion.

Keywords: Dutch Republic; ideal society; landsadvocaat Oldenbarnevelt; stadholder Maurice; Vlaardingen



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